Finding the right book club is just as important as joining one

Book ClubCredit: bigstockphoto

Have ever finished a good (or bad) book and wanted to tell someone what you thought of it?

If your friends and family are not passionate readers, or not interested in the same type of books that you are, those conversations can be either short and simply not fulfilling.

While you may want to talk about the plot, the characters or the ending, if your audience hasn’t read the story, the discussion may end soon after you say “I have just finished a really good book”. They are more likely to smile, nod and change the subject than encourage you to launch into a detailed description of a story they haven’t read (and may never read) themselves.

Joining a book club can be a good way to meet other people who share your passion for books and storytelling and discussing what you thought after you have finished. However, there are hundreds of thousand of books clubs out there, so finding the right one for you and your tastes is not always straightforward. Not all book clubs are the same. 

Here are 10 questions you should ask to assess if a club is the right one for you before you sign up:

  1. When and how often does the club meet? In a busy world, will you have enough time to read the designated book before each meeting?
  2. Where does the club meet? Are the group get togethers hosted in members’ homes (which means that ultimately you will have to take your turn at hosting), or do they meet at a central location? Where is that central location - will it be easy for you to get to? How long will you remain an interested member if the meetings are a long drive or commute away or in a location where parking is difficult?
  3. Are the meetings at a time that is convenient for you? If they meet during office hours or in the evenings, can you make it?
  4. Are you welcome to join the club meeting even if you haven’t finished the book?
  5. How are the books chosen - do members take turns or is there some other process followed?
  6. Does the group only read a specific genre such as romance or science fiction or do they choose different genres each month?
  7. Does the club focus on ‘paper’ books only or will the books also be available for download from a digital site such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble?
  8. Is there a formal or informal structure for the club? Is there one or more people in the club who take responsibility for organising meetings?
  9. Are there any club rules you need to know about? Some clubs will clearly state that members must attend a certain number of meetings each year to be considered ‘active’.
  10. What is the average age of other book club members? Age can drive book recommendations in a certain direction that you may not like. If you are not interested in only reading classics or young adult stories or autobiographies you need to know this before you join the club. Ask the club if they can provide you with a list of their last couple of books as what they have been reading can provide you with a good idea of what they will want to read in the future.

Joining a good book club can be a rewarding experience for a passionate reader and a great way to meet people with similar interests.

However, while joining the right one can be a challenge, it is important to ensure that you get what you wanted out of your commitment. So, before you sign up for any club, take the time to ask some questions and if it doesn’t seem like the ‘best fit’, walk away and try another one.